The Saline Courier Weekend

Donald Duane Knutson


Donald Duane Knutson, age 88, passed away on Jan. 10, 2024. Don was born Dec. 20, 1935, in Minneapoli­s, Minnesota and was reared in Austin, Minnesota, by his loving adoptive parents, Clarence Simon Knutson and Caroline Rose Blahnik Knutson, both of whom preceded Don in death.

Surviving Don are his beloved wife of almost 59 years, Norma Joyce Freyermuth Knutson; daughter, Lynn Dawn Leach and her husband Kent of Plano, Texas; son, Gregg Austin Knutson and his wife Piper of Benton; daughter, Karen Gillette Courtney and her husband Chris of Chicago; and four grandchild­ren, Ryan Andrew Leach (Megan) of Frisco, Texas, Caroline Elizabeth Leach, of Plano, Riley Arden Courtney of Chicago, Abigail Rose Knutson of Benton; and one greatgrand­daughter, Olivia Willow Leach of Frisco.

Don was adopted by Clarence and Caroline in August 1937, and in 1997, after they had both passed, Don was able to locate Lillian Pladson Buchholz, his birth mother, who passed away in 2014.

Don and his family developed a loving and close relationsh­ip with Lillian and her family. In 2012, Don also located the family of his birth father, Chet Anderson, in Minnesota, who received him with warmth and grace. Chet passed away in 1991, never knowing he had fathered Don.

Don was a veteran of 20 years military service. His primary military duty for 19 1/2 years was that of a United States Army Counterint­elligence Special Agent, serving overseas tours of duty in Korea, Germany, and in Viet Nam, where he served with the 5th Special Forces Group in 1969 and 1970.

Among Don’s numerous military awards were the Bronze Star Medal, Meritoriou­s Service Medal, Joint Services Commendati­on Medal, and the Army Commendati­on Medal with three oak leaf clusters. After retirement from active military duty in 1977 as a Chief Warrant Officer, Don joined Safeway Stores, Inc., serving in Little Rock as corporate security director with Safeway Stores, Inc., Harvest Foods,

Inc., and Supermarke­t Investors, Inc.

Throughout his life, Don believed strongly in the authority of Scripture and the centrality of Christ in each of our lives. Don served each church he belonged to with love and faithfulne­ss.

Visitation will be held from 3 to 4:45 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at Smith Family Funeral Home in Little Rock.

Interment will be a private family graveside burial service held at 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 19, at Arkansas State Veterans’ Cemetery in North Little Rock.

Don asked that all memorials be made to Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, 2400 Park Avenue South, Minneapoli­s, MN, 55404.

Ralph Mitchell Clemmons

Ralph Mitchell “Charlie” Clemmons passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023, at the age of 79.

Ralph retired after 36 years from Alcoa in Benton. Ralph enjoyed traveling, hiking, biking, kayaking, reading, flea markets, and being around his family and friends.

Ralph is preceded in death by his parents, Audery and Pauline L Clemmons; his three siblings, James Clemmons, Ellen Farrow, and Elsie Barrow; and his late ex-wife, Pauline Clemmons (Wills).

He is survived by his son, Kelly Clemmons and wife Holly (Ralph’s favorite daughter) who was always by his side until the end; two grandsons, Bradley Mitchell Clemmons and Casey Robert Clemmons (Brittany); and five great-grandchild­ren, Devyn Rae Clemmons, Haden Joseph Rigsby, Evan Mitchell Clemmons, Ellison Jewel Clemmons, and Nixie Willow Clemmons.

The family would like to thank all the wonderful staff at Saline Memorial Hospice for their profession­al support and help with a special thank you to Donna and Anna for being there during the family’s time of need.

The memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at Mount Olive Missonary Baptist Church, located at 3700 Mount Olive Road in Bauxite.

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